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Self and style: life as literature revisited

Self and style: life as literature revisited
Self and style: life as literature revisited
The essay re-appraises some aspects of Alexander Nehamas’ Nietzsche: Life as Literature. It recognizes as strengths of the book Nehamas’ emphasis on Nietzsche’s mode of writing and his idea that unified selfhood is an exceptional state that is achieved rather than given. However, it takes issue with the claim that Nietzsche holds a superessentialist view of the self. That view is not clearly supported by textual evidence, does not follow from Nietzsche’s regarding the self as simply a sequence of experiences and actions, and is not required in order to explain the ‘all-or-nothing’ requirement of the eternal recurrence. The essay argues further that unified selfhood cannot be accounted for solely on the model of literary character, given what is now generally recognized as Nietzsche’s naturalistic psychology of drives. However, the Nietzschean self need not be viewed as immutable and is amenable to the influence of culture and consciousness in ways that may encourage a positive account of becoming a unified self.
0968-8005
103-117
Janaway, Christopher
61c48538-365f-416f-b6f7-dfa4d4663475
Janaway, Christopher
61c48538-365f-416f-b6f7-dfa4d4663475

Janaway, Christopher (2014) Self and style: life as literature revisited. Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 45 (2), 103-117. (doi:10.1353/nie.2014.0025).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The essay re-appraises some aspects of Alexander Nehamas’ Nietzsche: Life as Literature. It recognizes as strengths of the book Nehamas’ emphasis on Nietzsche’s mode of writing and his idea that unified selfhood is an exceptional state that is achieved rather than given. However, it takes issue with the claim that Nietzsche holds a superessentialist view of the self. That view is not clearly supported by textual evidence, does not follow from Nietzsche’s regarding the self as simply a sequence of experiences and actions, and is not required in order to explain the ‘all-or-nothing’ requirement of the eternal recurrence. The essay argues further that unified selfhood cannot be accounted for solely on the model of literary character, given what is now generally recognized as Nietzsche’s naturalistic psychology of drives. However, the Nietzschean self need not be viewed as immutable and is amenable to the influence of culture and consciousness in ways that may encourage a positive account of becoming a unified self.

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Published date: 2014
Organisations: Philosophy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 362472
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/362472
ISSN: 0968-8005
PURE UUID: fb53e287-390b-48e9-99eb-1717d650c892
ORCID for Christopher Janaway: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9600-8837

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Date deposited: 25 Feb 2014 13:02
Last modified: 25 Mar 2020 01:28

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